Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire

By now most people know who Suzanne Collins is and that she has written The Hunger Games series, and yes I jumped on the band wagon of the movie and read the book before seeing the movie earlier this year. So most people now will know you will need to read the first book The Hunger Games, before picking this one up, or else you are a reader will be completely lost.

Katniss and Peeta have done the impossible; there have been two winners for the annual Hunger Games. They have defied the capital and everything that the Hunger Games stands for. But if Katniss thinks that things will return to normal once they return to district 12, she is completely wrong. Due to the fact that she has defied the Capital, the Capital now feels that she owes them, or else those she loves around her as well as the people in the district. Katniss represents something that all the districts have been looking for, hope. Hope for a time without the oppression of the Capital.

I believe I stated it when I reviewed the Hunger Games that this review is by an adult reading a YA book who does not read YA books on a regular basis. Therefore, there will be some childish things that occurred in the book that do annoy me. However, this is not to say that Collins was misguided in having these events, thoughts or actions, they work for a YA audience but I am writing my review more for adults who are still considering reading this book.

I did not enjoy part one of this book; it felt like this book was going to be a filler book. It felt that Collins wanted to make this a trilogy and she knew how she wanted to start and end, but was left within nothing for the middle. The book does begin to pick up about halfway through part two and part three. But I do not think that there were too many surprises or twists within the book that could not have been predicted. However, I did overall find the book enjoyable and it had moments where I needed to know what would happen next and I think that most people will see the book this way. I enjoyed the moments in the Quarter Quell and I thought that this is where Collins' creativity excels. Collins is able to write a story that will keep people entertained, whether you are a youth or adult, but I think an adult reader will have more issues with the story, characters and grammar than a youth will.

I did not enjoy Katniss’ as a character in this book. There were times in the Hunger Games where I was able to relate to her, but I think this was due to the fact that she was on her own, and she did not have to interact with other characters. Interaction with people outside of  Gale, Katniss struggles to the point where even the reader is unable to relate to her. I also found that Collins portrayed Katniss as not as smart in the Hunger Games. I do not know if this was due to the fact that Katniss was out of her element of hunting (but surely she can be good at more than one thing) but it appeared to me that she left all the difficult decision and speaking to Peeta or Gale or Haymitch, really anyone else other that Katniss. Katniss also all of a sudden became a naive girl who is not aware of what was occurring around her and really was only concerned about herself. I just feel that Katniss took a step back in maturity and development in this book. Additionally, I disliked that there is a love triangle. While I do not read too many YA books, I know enough about the popular YA books out there to know that this seems to be a growing trend. Do girls need to have two guys wanting her attention to be happy? No, I don’t think so, but I do not understand why YA authors seem to think so and I personally think that it sets a bad example.

Additionally, as an adult I noticed that there are several instances of poor sentence structure, and use of periods (and I am no way stating that my writing style is perfect, far from I assure you). While this does annoy me somewhat in regular book, I think the fact that this is a young adult book which is typically read by young adults who are developing these skills it sets a bad example for them. If an experienced and published author writes this way it must be right, so why can't they as well? 

Overall, this is a fairly good read if you are able to get past some of the negatives I pointed out above. There were points within this book that were enjoyable and felt like Collins was getting back to her stride of the Hunger Games; it was just a shame that it took about half of the book to get there. I think once you have made it this far in the series you feel compelled to read the next novel and I will read it eventually to see how everything ends.

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